Weekend Winners: Johnson begins reign with victory in Mexico

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Dustin Johnson won on his first time out as the World No. 1 after being chased down by a host of Europeans.

WGC-Mexico Championship: Dustin Johnson

For 10 years we have been generally bored by this tournament at Doral, then we got this week of fun at Chapultepec with endless chip-ins, Phil Mickelson being Phil Mickelson (in a good way), upset tummies, a host of big names peppering the leaderboard and a one-shot victory from the World No. 1. It all seemed so different and, from start to finish, it was great.

This was Dustin Johnson’s first start since taking over at the top and he now follows Ian Woosnam, David Duval, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott in managing a victory on their maiden test as the world’s best. He also now has four WGCs – only he and Tiger Woods have managed more than three, though Woods is somewhat clear with 18 of them.

Johnson looked to have this tournament sewn up with a three-shot lead at the turn after four birdies going out but then he went backwards as Jon Rahm came at him. A missed four-footer at 12 and a bunkered tee shot at the next meant the lead was down to one and Rahm then holed from off the green at 14.

Then, with a graphic telling us that he had gone 59 holes without a three-putt, the Spaniard did the expected and bogeyed. And then did it again at the next.

All of which let Tommy Fleetwood slip into second place with a monster putt at the 72nd hole for a brilliant 66 which will guarantee his debut at the Masters next month.

Another Englishman, Ross Fisher, also enjoyed a very profitable week with a hat-trick of birdies to finish, he had nine in total, for a six-under 65.

There did look to be a possibility of a play-off when Johnson found a fairway bunker but, from an awkward stance, the American punched one into the heart of the green.

The expected charges of Mickelson (71), Justin Thomas (72) and Rory McIlroy (71) never happened while Lee Westwood played his first six holes in two under and his last 12 in nine over. All of which added up to a 78.

Thomas did, however, provide the moment of the week with a one-bounce hole-in-one on Saturday.

Speaking of his wedge shot from the 18th that essentially wrapped up the title, Johnson said: “It was my best shot of the week.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the game. I feel like I’m controlling my ball very well and I feel like I’m starting to drive a little straighter. If I can drive it straight I’m going to play well every week.

“It means a lot [being World No. 1] – it’s a tough spot to be in and there a lot of pressure on you. I played just well enough I guess, because I won by one.”

Tshwane Open: Dean Burmester

This was a win that had been coming all season – Burmester has finished fourth, seventh, 41st and 11th so far this year and back-to-back 65s gave him his first win on Tour at Pretoria Country Club.

The 27-year-old began 2017 without any playing privileges but seven birdies in his first 12 holes had seen him run away with things. At one point he led by six.

In the end the winning margin was down to three after two late bogeys, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and Jorge Campillo of Spain tied for second.

The overnight leader Scott Jamieson had a stinker of a day, following efforts of 67, 65 and 68 with a 78 which included three doubles. The Scot began his day with three bogeys in his first four holes and ended up in a tie for 22nd.

Burmester’s start was quite the opposite, he holed a monster at the first, added two more immediately and recorded a further hat-trick around the turn as he went out in 29.

He will now move into the top 100 in the world.

“I can’t believe it,” Burmester said. “I’ve had an amazing summer and last week was a frustrating day for me on Sunday, but then my family and everyone who supported me said: ‘We’re coming up next week so you better win in front of us’ and I’m glad to have done that.

“I sharpened my teeth as a youngster on the Big Easy Tour here at home and I think I had five seconds in one year and then two years later I had four wins on the Sunshine Tour.”

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